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  • Writer's pictureRaelynn Jensen

The Grand Hotel Wien Is Old, But Actually Awesome

If you're tempted to cross the pond and head to Vienna, consider the Grand Hotel Wein. An intersection of old school charm and modern luxury, it’s a hotel worthy of 6 stars.

grand hotel wien review

America has its history, but Vienna? It’s a league of its own. Just look at the architecture and you'll know the city dates back centuries. One building in particular manages to capture that history, while still offering the comfort of modern times. The Grand Hotel Wien, first opened 150 years ago, stands today as a beacon of timeless sophistication.


The name has traveled farther than I have, crossing seas and beckoning nobility from dozens of countries. Everyone from Pamela Anderson to Sir Paul McCartney have indulged in its grandeur. Indeed history resides within its walls, and for a week in the middle of October, so had I.


It’s All About Location


grand hotel wien review

In terms of location, you’d be lucky to find a spot more prime. Take it from me, someone who hails from the middle of nowhere USA, where it takes an hour's drive just to reach Red Lobster, the height of luxury. So consider my culture shock when I arrived at the Grand Hotel to find it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Vienna State Opera, St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Albertine Museum.


Yes, you can walk essentially everywhere – that’s how central the hotel is. It’s right on the famous Ringstrabe, which circles the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town, if like me, you need some help with the translation). In other words, no need for pantomiming directions to cab drivers or translating subway maps. Just lace up your Nikes and hit the streets.


By the way, the Grand Hotel's rooftop restaurant offers a beautiful view of Vienna’s skyline... to make your heart flutter in anticipation.

 

Rooms To Make You Feel Like Royalty


grand hotel wien review

Some hotel rooms are generic: a bed, a bathroom and a TV that sometimes works. Then there are suits at the Grand Hotel Wien, where the majesty simply cannot be understated.


Look, growing up, I binged Disney movies purely to study the beauty of the castles and the princesses who called them home. Since then, I kept wondering when would my Prince carry me over the threshold into my very own palace?


As it turns out, you can be single and still feel like royalty. My suite made me forget my surname doesn’t actually start with ‘duchess’. With crystal chandeliers and rustic vanity mirrors, the antique Viennese style is nothing short of spectacular. Yet at the same time, the decorative wallpaper and carpets exude a subtle warmth reminiscent of the cozy farmhouse I grew up in. The combination of the two vibes made me feel like a princess in my own home.


Your very own housekeeper cleans your room daily (and replaces the bed linens!), which means you won’t have to worry about those walking shoes you tossed in the corner when you passed out after a day of exploration. And when you’re ready to start your day, you can enjoy complimentary coffee pods, meaning you can sip your espresso in front of city views.


When you combine that Viennese decoration with the personalized and persistent service, there’s a pretty good chance you might not want to leave your room at all.


Honestly. I just wanted to sip on my espresso, read a book, and stare out at Vienna all day long. But, of course, I couldn't miss all that the city had to offer.

 

Captain Guten Morgen


grand hotel wien review

Back home in America, I typically skip breakfast. I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s our culture. We’re told we need to dive into our day. But in Vienna? Not so fast. Breakfast is an indulgence, an opportunity to ignite your senses. So prepare yourself for the buffet at the Grand Brasserie.


There’s an enormous selection of pastries, breads, cheeses, and even smoked fish. Choose between Australian sausages or shake it up with a healthy green smoothie. I was traveling solo and feeling particularly spicy, so I had complimentary champagne with my meal.


Yes, everything’s included here. Even the liquor!


My personal favorite? The Grand Hotel Wien Signature Dish. It’s a poached egg on toasted bread (from the famous Joseph bakery) with arugula and smoked salmon.


When you think about it, you’re going to need those extra carbs. I walked over 20k steps on my first day! Anyone who says you don’t get a workout on vacation has never been to Vienna. But don’t be surprised if you return home and start baking pastries at 6AM. Breakfast at the Grand Hotel will do that to you. You’ve been warned!

 

The Grand Spa: a Wien-Wien Situation!


grand hotel wien review

If I’m being honest, the Grand Hotel Wein could probably throw the word Spa in their name. That’s how pampered I felt after a visit to the Grand Spa.


Sauna, stream bath, recreation area – you name it. And after getting all those steps in, you bet I was going to go all out. Beauty treatments... massages… Okay, I may have gone overboard, but can you blame me? The synonym of vacation is ‘relax’ for a reason.


grand hotel wien review

If you’re feeling a little too guilty about that carbolicious breakfast, you can exercise it off in the cardio area. Sigh. Can you tell I still fantasize about my time there?

 

Today’s Forecast: 100% Chance of Schnitzel!


If you thought breakfast was an experience, get ready for the most splendid meal of the day. The Grand Hotel offers a variety of restaurants, and I highly recommend giving each a taste.


grand hotel wien review

In the lobby, you’ll find Rosengarten, my personal favorite. With Art Deco interiors, live piano music, and an array of delectable dishes, you can’t beat the vibe. The Wiener Schnitzel vom Kalb is an authentic Viennese dish, and just about as real as it gets when it comes to absorbing the culture of this unique city.


I may have ordered a few too many desserts, but if the server was annoyed by my constant questions, he definitely wouldn't show it. Great service is one of those subtle things. You notice it when it’s absent, and when it’s present you leave feeling satiated and satisfied, wondering when you can go back.


grand hotel wien review

If you’re craving Japanese food, definitely try out UNKAI on the 7th floor. But good luck picking only one dish from their wide variety. With the Shabu-Shabu, you cook your meal yourself on your table. I’m nowhere near a chef, but honestly, this came out better than I expected. The sushi is divine, and more fresh than anything I’ve tasted in the states. And make sure to round out your meal with Hokkaido, a Japanese dessert version of pumpkin crème brûlée with fresh berries.

 

Wien, du bist so wunderschön.


grand hotel wien review

The Grand Hotel Wien struck a chord within my soul, and I still hear the echo. Especially when my kitchen looks like a bomb went off in my attempt to recreate the amazing food I had tasted there. Yes, I really did come back to Florida fueled by Sacher cake and schnitzel. (It’s a Vienna thing, you wouldn’t understand;)


I don’t tend to return to the same city, so I rarely book the same hotel. But this place is most definitely an exception. One thing really stuck with me during my time there: Everyone – from the guests to the staff – had a smile on their faces. There was a vibe, one of mutual appreciation for the rich history this hotel holds. Guests valued the space, as much as the space valued us. It’s the best way I can describe it. I felt it in the linens, tasted it in the food, and enjoyed it in the service. The beauty really is in the details.


Anyway, next time Europe calls, I’ll be answering from the Grand Hotel Wien.


— By Megan MacGregor

 

Megan a travel writer and hotel reviewer whose work has been published by numerous outlets, including: 'Be My Travel Muse' and 'Extreme Nomads'. She's also the author of 13 novels.

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